The Army Is Testing Out Its Strongest And Lightest Combat Helmet Yet

Bullet Points

Just over a year after announcing a much-needed update to the 15-year-old Advanced Combat Helmet, the Army is testing out an even stronger and lighter combat helmet that officials claim offers rifle protection comparable to current ballistics options at a 40% reduction in weight


  • Officials from the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) showed off the new prototype during Close Combat Lethality Tech Day at the end of May alongside the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PAGST) helmet and Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) systems.
  • Made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene rather than the traditional Kevlar, the NSRDEC prototype helmet weighs just 3.25 pounds, well below the original ACH's 3.5 pounds and the Integrated Head Protection System's (IHPS) 3.25 pounds (and 5.77 pounds with ballistics mandible).
  • The prototype helmet "demonstrated a new capability for increased rifle protection at about 40% reduced weight," NSRDEC public affairs chief David Accetta told Task & Purpose, adding that the system also demonstrated "the same protection level as the current [IHPS] without the modular applique worn over the helmet shell."
  • The prototype combat helmet comes as the Army looks to reconcile a need for improved body armor load weights with efforts to produce traumatic brain injuries with programs like the IHPS, scheduled a planned battlefield debut of 2020. As NSRDEC's Richard Green told Army Times during a recent showcase of the new prototype helmet:“There’s kind of a competition between increased threat and weight."

Look, the NSRDEC combat helmet prototype probably won't keep your brain safe when it comes to your next Carl Gustaf party, but it still beats the hell out of any tacticool facemask you can score on the Internet.

WATCH NEXT:

UPDATE: This article previously characterized the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center prototype helmet as the most recent iteration of the ACH Gen II rather than a distinct project. We regret the error. (Updated 6/13/2018  4:10 pm EST)

U.S. Army/C. Todd Lopez
Jeff Schogol

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.

Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.

Read More Show Less

U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.

On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.

The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.

Read More Show Less
(New Jersey National Guard photo by Mark C. Olsen)

If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.

If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."

Read More Show Less

There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.

For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.

Read More Show Less
(Facebook photo)

The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.

Read More Show Less